FOIL request for # of “Assault Weapons.” THE APPEAL

UPDATE NOV. 9, 2013.  I was quoted in a Times Union article: SAFE Act gun total declared off limits.  Provision in law says state isn’t required to disclose how many assault weapons are registered. By Rick Karlin. Published 9:53 pm, Friday, November 8, 2013

“”We don’t care about names or addresses (of registrants). We just want totals,” said George Rogero, who heads the Orange County NY Shooters group and runs a blog on Second Amendment issues.
He tried getting the number earlier this year under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, but was turned down.
Rogero said the law makes a provision for getting the number with a court order but said, “I don’t have $15,000 or $20,000 to take (a legal fight) any further.”
Gun rights advocates say they are interested in tallying registrations, in part, because with many local sheriffs opposed to the SAFE Act, they believe that only a handful of those with the grandfathered weapons will bother to register.
No one knows how many assault-style weapons are in New York state. Shortly after the law was passed, State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico estimated that there could be hundreds of thousands. Others have said 1 million isn’t an unrealistic number.
|     “There is no way to know,” said Rogero.”

It came as no surprise to me that I lost the appeal.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LETTER FROM THE STATE POLICE.  The short of it is that the law went into effect on the day that it was signed and the section that states that the data base can not be FOILed applies to all data bases created because of the NY unSAFE act

As I covered in a 7/24/2013 past post, “FOIL REQUEST, Number of Assault Weapons registered are a State Secret.”   My initial attempt at a FOIL to discover how many “Assault Weapons” have been registered was turned down by the NY State Police because the number of registered “Assault Weapons is; ” … not subject to disclosure under FOIL.”  I have just appealed the rejection.  (The person should be getting the registered letter in tomorrows mail.  I bet they thought that I went away.)

If you look at the whole letter that the NY State Police sent me, their explanation was that the information was covered under two sections of the NY unSAFE Act:

  1. The NY State Police was creating a “data base” that consisted of data in one section of the NY unSafe Act.
  2. The data in the “data base” was not FOILable in another section of the NY unSAFE Act.

In my appeal I pointed out that:

  1. The first section of the law that they talked about would, according to the law, “take effect one  year after it shall have become a law …”  So they could not site that section of the law because the law was not in effect.
  2. Also that the section of the law that they were talking about covered their list of handgun licenses and I was asking about data in another section of the law, the “Assault Weapons Registry,” not the handgun license list.
  3. I did not want the data that the NY State Police collected.  I wanted data that the department uses to manage the personal and hours in the department.  (If only 5 people a day are registering their “AWs” by mail a day you don’t need many people to enter the data.  If you have 1,000 people registering “AWs” a day I think that you might need more man hours to be worked and the cost will go up.)  It should be public information how many “AWs” are registered and how much it cost per “AW.

I am not a lawyer and this is the first time that I have done this but I know that they really don’t want to give me this information so they will say anything and do anything to keep anyone from having it.  Anything after this goes to the lawyers.



From my appeal letter:

My FOIL request was denied in part because of: “Records assembled or collected for purposes of inclusion in the database created pursuant to section 400.02 of this chapter shall not be subject to disclosure pursuant to [FOIL].”  Emphasis added.”

From the bill:  “The amendments to sections 400.02 and 400.03 of the penal law made by sections forty-nine and fifty of this act shall take effect one  year after it shall have become a law; and”

It is incorrect to reference a section of the law that has not taken effect to deny a FOIL request.

In addition, the records covered under 400.00 (5) relate to handgun licenses only.

I am requesting the number of “assault weapons” registered under section 400.00 16-a.  Registration. (a).  No section exempt(s) this information from foil request.  Additionally, I am not requesting any information contained in the registration process.  I am requesting the total numbers of “assault weapons” and types registered under the new law, how they were registered and what counties they are registered from.  This is information compiled by the management of the program for their use in administering the program and therefor is not data collected in the registration process.  If this information is not available to the public, it would be impossible to have any way to determine how effective the registration process is and how much it cost to register each “assault weapon.”

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